The problem with the number is that the employment – population ratio has a huge impact on it and it’s been shrinking.
If you’ve left the job market, either through retirement, going back to school, or simply not looking for a job in the past 4 weeks, then you leave the eligible job pool.
It has been shrinking for quite some time, and artificially makes the official job numbers look better than they really are. With Baby Boomers leaving the force in record numbers, some of this is to be expected, but it doesn’t account from the whole picture
Here’s a good article for a full description.